Constance Ore is a retired Teacher, Choir Director, and Organist. And a formidable cook.

August 30, 2006

Filed under: — Constance at 8:04 am on Wednesday, August 30, 2006

This day brings the third set of injections of seven in the seventh round of Chemotherapy. Monday’s blood count was normal, and the oncologist was beaming; in the past we had concluded that he was a very serious sort because he didn’t smile much, but this time he radiated delight. “You are in full remission!” was the declaration, and a celebratory mood filled the room. Shortly thereafter I was once more in the blue chair in the Chemo room awaiting the injections, since the plan is to keep the blood normal through a regular infusion of the chemical every eight weeks. Every time, the body reacts differently, and this time it has brought abdominal cramps of the type where one doubles over, breathes deeply and begins to recite the 23rd Psalm. There are also hot flashes and bone aches – those two reactions I am familiar with but the stomach cramps are a new thing.

While waiting for my treatment, a man followed a nurse into the Chemotherapy room and took a chair nearby. He had the whey colored complexion that is typical of cancer and as he sat down he said sadly, “I just retired in July, and we had big plans, big plans. . . and I’m tellin’ you, they sure didn’t include sitting here.” The nurse said soothingly, “I’m sure they didn’t,” as she laid his arm on the armrest and rubbed the alcohol over the top of the hand. “Stick,” she said, and inserted the IV, taping it in place and turning on the liquid that would descend from the bottles hanging above. The man continued, “We was gonna travel first, thought we’d get a trailer, you know, and go down to the Ozarks for a while.” The nurse just sat there, rubbing his arm, and listening. “Now,” he said, “We don’t know where the money’s gonna come from. . . this all costs so much, we don’t know where the money’s gonna come from.” He put his head back and shut his eyes, and the nurse got up and said very quietly, “Let us know if you need anything, all right?” He didn’t reply.

August 25, 2006

Filed under: — Constance at 8:20 pm on Friday, August 25, 2006

Schools are beginning and swimming pools are closing – the yearly winding down of summer once again takes place. Through the granddaughters, I get to experience the new beginning of another school year as they gather their supplies and prepare to dress in their “coolest” choices to meet the new community of the next nine months. Absolutely nothing is more hopeful than that first day of school with children full of excitement and anticipation bearing new lunch boxes, back packs, shoes, and writing tools. As a teacher, I always had a mixed feeling of delight and regret because I knew that by years’ end, a number of these faces would have lost their shine and would instead look dull or weary because the experience of school had not worked out well for them.

My incredible summer hits the reality check on Monday of next week when I return to seven days of chemotherapy. Other than a noticeable lack of the kind of energy that could carry me through days filled with activities, the last eight weeks were filled with prosaic activities made splendid by the fact that they were there, and I was living within them. Though I have survived six courses of the chemotherapy with their adjunct side effects I have to lecture myself in the hours before dawn when the brain scurries about in fearful circles remembering the hard things. All should go well since I am stronger now than when I began and life has been so very, very good since the drug brought me to remission! We all live in a constant balancing act of hope and apprehension, happiness and sorrow, present life and imagined death – and ultimately, for me, there is the peace of knowing that I am ever in God’s hands.

August 18, 2006

Filed under: — Constance at 9:29 am on Friday, August 18, 2006

Alphie is an ongoing project; I read the book, “Caeser’s Way” which is the writing of the Dog Whisperer, and found it to be quite enlightening because he was able to define “dog” quite clearly. One of his concepts is that a dog will be happy only if it is clearly the leader or the follower, or part of the pack, and the dog owner must be the leader or be in a constant struggle with the dog. At 100 pounds, Alphie is not to struggle with, and following the concept that the dog senses the mood of the owner more than the words spoken, before I deal with him, I arrange my thoughts accordingly. An interesting feature of dogdom is that one is not to meet the eyes of the dog, so I go out in the mornings with my cap down over my forehead, my thoughts all about “Don’t you jump on me, you miserable creature or this lovely tidbit for you to eat is history” and it has worked! He does not jump on me, and I can unfasten him for the walk without difficulty.

I also feel that by bringing Alphie into the house for periods of time, he will become more domesticated, or something like that. I broached the concept of having him come in overnight once the weather becomes colder, saying to Charles, mistakenly, to be sure, “I can’t see what damage he might do in the house.” Charles said, very slowly, “You can’t see what damage he might do in the house,” then he said it again, and finally he commented, “I can’t believe you said that.” By then my mind had Alphie upturning all the plants standing about, eviscerating the sofa and chewing through the leg of our Steinway, so I hastily retracted the statement. It remains a plan that requires a good deal of thought.

August 17, 2006

Filed under: — Constance at 9:23 am on Friday, August 18, 2006

Life is indeed a mystery, just as has been said so often in the past. While there is healing for some, there is misery for others. A friend and I speak of facing new days in peace and plenty while so many others see the sun come up to shine upon devastated homes with sights and sounds of warfare near enough to keep fear foremost in the day. No one appears to deserve either one state or the other, so we give heartfelt thanks for the good that is ours, and we pray for those who must live in fear and misery. That effort seems paltry, but human wisdom appears to be inadequate to the task of bringing order into the world.

Growing things are less complicated. The vista here at Sanctuary has changed dramatically with the grand downpour of rain. The cracks in the ground are gone, the soil is spongy, the plants are verdant and wild flowers that had determined to remain still and quiet until better times have suddenly appeared carrying bloom shoots on their heads. I gardened yesterday, determined to clear out the bindweed that could surely feed the world if it were a worthy plant. It had come into our little squares that were to protect the herbs there, and it had wrapped itself around the tomatoes as well. Since it is such a selfish, rapacious sort of plant, covering over everything in its path, it was a delight to pull, snip, and unwrap it from the other things attempting to grow. Due to neglect, the plants had to fend for themselves for quite a while, so the meeker parsley had succumbed; the dill was gone, all of its fronds providing food for some other creature, and the fennel stood next in line. Only the oregano had made a pact with the bindweed, and both were coming out of the designated plant box and making a determined grab for the next boxes over, flattening the thyme and marjoram in their path. Into this little world, I could bring order with a morning’s work, leaving lovely boxes of herbs and tomatoes tidy and breathing free again.

Next Page »